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NEWS | Dec. 15, 2021

Women’s Employee Resource Group at NSWCPD Provides Assistance and Resources to Workforce

By Richard Locklear

Balancing home life and work is never easy, and this challenge has never been more clear than during the COVID-19 pandemic that still impacts every single member of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Philadelphia Division (NSWCPD) workforce.

To provide assistance and resources to those in need, the NSWCPD Women’s Employee Resource Group (WERG) seeks to build a community within the command by promoting and facilitating events and ideas important to women within the organization, and that benefit all its employees. Like other employee resource groups at NSWCPD, the WERG also promotes diversity, inclusion, empowerment, mentorship, and sponsorship among the workforce.

Examples of past events include career development sessions such as “Demystifying the Internal Promotion and Detail Process” and “Procurement Process Info Session.” Most recently, WERG hosted an information session on the Navy’s “Military Child Care in Your Neighborhood” program, which provides financial assistance for active duty Sailors and Navy civilians who are unable to access installation-sponsored child care.

According to WERG Chair and Solid Waste and HAZMAT ISE Branch Manager Allyson Jones-Zaroff, who facilitated the child care information session, events like this allow important information pertaining to benefits and career advancement to be disseminated to a much wider audience.

“We all deserve access to the same information,” she said. “WERG is taking the information being passed around from mentors and peers and communicating it broadly across the command to ensure everyone is given the same information and therefore be able to take advantage of opportunities equally.”

Another activity sponsored by WERG is a book club that allows members the opportunity to read books on women’s self-improvement and career topics, and discuss those in a group setting.

“I enjoy the comradery of the group and the opportunity to exchange point of views in a comfortable forum,” said Grisel Velázquez, a WERG member and NSWCPD contract specialist.

Recent examples of books the group read include “Becoming” by Michelle Obama, “Educated” by Tara Westover, “The Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates, and “Own It” by Sallie Krawcheck. The group will start its 10th book in January 2022.

Jones-Zaroff noted that the organization’s mission has evolved over the years beginning with the vision to build a community of support and now endeavoring to strengthen that community by pushing for greater equity at all levels of the organization.

“We have chosen to begin tackling that goal by recognizing that knowledge is power and that knowledge is not necessarily distributed equitably when left to networking and mentorship,” she said.

To further this mission, Jones-Zaroff says WERG will be partnering with NSWCPD’s African American Employee Resource Group (AAERG) to offer more guidance and detailed information on resume building and developing interviewing skills and strategies with in-person and virtual workshops in the new calendar year. WERG will also continue to offer information sessions on topics that interest the NSWCPD community and the command as a whole.